Human activities levy a biological cost on ecosystems as resources are accessed and utilized at rates which are often incompatible with inherent ecosystem processes and structures. The recreational impact of humans upon intertidal zones and particularly fucoid algal assemblages is one major threat facing coastal ecosystems. The effect of human values, knowledge and perception in effecting biologically costly behaviors has rarely been examined. We hypothesize that with respect to intertidal zones: (1) Personal attribution and perception of ecosystem resiliency are more important than knowledge in determining the extent of depreciative behaviors individuals engage in, and; (2) Individuals who are uncertain about ecosystem resiliency will behave in a manner consistent with the 'precautionary principle'. We measured the depreciative behavior, and the attitudes and perceptions to ecosystem resilience, of visitors to Wick Headland in Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia. Attitudes, knowledge, perceptions, and personal attribution were measured using questionnaire survey and structured interviews undertaken in situ. Depreciative behaviors of visitors were discreetly observed and correlated to the questionnaire survey and interview responses. We show that visitors who recorded greater knowledge of intertidal ecology engaged in more depreciative behaviors than visitors recording less knowledge. Visitors who perceived high ecosystem resilience in the intertidal zone engaged in significantly more behaviors eliciting biological cost than those who perceived low ecosystem resilience. Visitors who recorded uncertainty regarding ecosystem resilience engaged in significantly more depreciative behaviors than those who perceived low ecosystem resilience but slightly fewer depreciative behaviors than those who perceived high ecosystem resilience. Personal attribution was inversely correlated to the mean number of depreciative behaviors. We discuss the relevance of these results to the management of intertidal zones and marine protected areas, to multiple use management, the management of visitor impact, and natural resource use.